Virtual Reality

Travelling to London by train the other day, I was struck by the silence in a carriage filled with people. A single voice could be heard, talking loudly about “marketing strategies going forward”. Despite a warm autumnal sun shimmering outside on morning mist, the light inside the carriage was cold and blue-tinged.

No-one was asleep however.

The carriage, as such, was in reality empty. Its occupants were all elsewhere, prosthetically displaced.

The photographer Eric Pickersgill would describe them as removed. I would recommend his photographic essay on “the splitting of attention between those who are physically with you and those who are not.” The images are chillingly familiar.

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